Dourdan, Gary 1966–
Gary Dourdan 1966–
Actor Gary Dourdan appears on the CBS top–rated television drama C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation. Dour–dan’s character, Warrick Brown, is one of a group of forensic investigators trained to solve crimes by collecting evidence from crime scenes. “When I decided to get into acting I wanted to break down stereotypes that limit people in their imaginations,” Dourdan told TV Guide. “Not that coroners are exactly cool now, but at least we’re showing them in a more youthful light.”
Dourdan was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the youngest of five children born to Robert Durdin, an agent who represented jazz musicians, and Sandy Durdin, a fashion designer—Dourdan changed the spelling of his last name when he began acting. The Durdins encouraged their children to pursue interests in the arts.
The young Dourdan particularly admired his brother, Darryl, who was 17 years older and a DJ at Temple University’s WRTI radio station. Darryl gave his little brother flute lessons, and Dourdan’s childhood dream was to follow in his brother’s footsteps. But when Dourdan was six years old, Darryl was murdered in Haiti while researching the family’s history. An unknown assailant pushed him off a cliff from his motel balcony. Haitian police could find no suspects or possible motive for the crime. “It was a mysterious event, and we don’t have any answers,” Dourdan told TV Guide.
After graduation, Dourdan embarked on, as he told TV Guide, a “reckless period.” Instead of going to college or pursuing acting auditions, he began to abuse alcohol and drugs. He drifted between Philadelphia and Miami, played in some New Jersey bands, then settled in a basement apartment in New York. He supported himself by working in restaurants as a chef, but was frequently fired from these jobs for coming to work late.
Dourdan stopped using drugs and drinking alcohol in his twenties, without having to seek help from a rehabilitation clinic. He began acting again and won roles in off–Broadway shows. He also studied at New York’s Strasberg Institute. His first big break came
At a Glance …
Born Gary Durdin (changed to Dourdan) on Deçember 11, 1966, in Philadelphia, PA; son of Robert Durdin (an agent for jazz musicians) and Sandy Durdin (a fashion designer); married Roshumba Williams, 1992 (divorced, 1994); children: one daughter. Education: Strasberg Institute.
Career: Actor. Acted in off–Broadway stage productions; television series: A Different World, 1991–92; Soul Food, 2000; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 2000–; films: Playing God, 1997; Alien: Resurrection, 1997; Imposter, 2002.
Awards: People’s Choice Awards, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Favorite Television Dramatic Series, 2003; NAACP Image Awards, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, nominee, 2003.
Addresses: Management— Original Films, 2045 S. Barrington, Los Angeles, CA 90025. Publicist— Patricola/Lust Public Relations, 8383 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 530, Beverly Hills CA 902011.
when he was cast in the Cosby Show television spin–off A Different World as con artist Shazza Zulu. Dourdan appeared on the popular series from 1991 to 1993. He also appeared on the TV show The Good Fight (1992) and on the 1993 HBO mini–series Laurel Avenue.
While working on the stage, Dourdan met model Roshumba Williams. The couple married in 1992, but divorced just two years later. “We were both too young for the commitment,” Dourdan told The Mirror. “I just woke up one day and thought, ‘I don’t really know this person.’”
Dourdan returned to television, briefly appearing in Swift Justice (1996). In 1997 Dourdan appeared opposite David Duchovny and Angelina Jolie in Playing God. That same year, he was cast in Alien: Resurrection with Winona Ryder and Sigourney Weaver. Dourdan appeared in another short–lived television series, The Keys, in 1998.
Dourdan often found that the roles available to him were limited to drug dealers and other criminals. “It was purely and simply because of the way I looked,” Dourdan explained to The Mirror. He had spent 11 years growing dreadlocks, but his image was too easy to stereotype. “Although I had plenty of work, I was tired of playing people who lacked other dimensions,” Dourdan continued. So Dourdan changed his image, most notably by cutting his hair, and the work dried up. “Nobody in showbusiness could recognize me anymore,” he told The Mirror.
With fewer offers for acting jobs coming in, Dourdan, who plays both the flute and guitar, decided to focus on music. He joined a jazz band and played in various New York clubs. Slowly, he began to reestablish himself in the entertainment business and over time the acting roles came his way once again.
In 1999 Dourdan starred opposite Brooke Shields and Gena Rowlands in The Weekend, an independent film which won a jury prize at the Seattle Film Festival for Best Ensemble Cast. Dourdan’s character causes controversy when it is revealed during a family weekend that he and Shields’ character are interracial lovers. Dourdan also appeared on the popular series Soul Food in 2000.
In 2000 C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation premiered on CBS. Initially, the series was not expected to become a top–rated show. “We were underdogs for so long, and fought an uphill battle to get regular notoriety” Dourdan told Zap2it. “We fought tooth and nail just to get respect from our own company, CBS. Then we finally came through with the numbers.” C.S.I. finished the 2000–2001 season as the highest–rated new drama, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for best television drama.
On C.S.I. Dourdan plays a Las Vegas casino hustler turned forensic detective. On the personal front, his character is battling a gambling addiction. Dourdan feels that he and his C.S.I character both are outsiders. He explained to Zap2it, “Warrick was never involved in the crews … never had the ear of the cool people. He was always on the outside of that. That is his uniqueness.” Dourdan continued, “That was my whole high school upbringing right there. I had two or three groups of friends who were not really friends, they were all acquaintances, that I was trying to fit into to make myself feel partially normal. I always switched around, because I never quite got it right, until I started to get older, started to realize that I needed to completely be an individual. I never fit the mold.”
Dourdan next appeared in the 2002 movie Imposter, co–starring Madeleine Stowe, Gary Sinise, and Vincent D’Onofrio. Dourdan has also continued to pursue his musical interests—he has been working on two CDs scheduled for release in 2002. One is a collection of music from movie chase scenes. “We call it Chase Du Jour,” Dourdan told Entertainment Tonight. “The other features vocalists I am friends with and writing songs for—sort of a little avant garde … the trip–hoppish, current–day genre music that is being sought right now.”
Next, Dourdan hopes to develop a film about Phil Lynott of the group Thin Lizzy—Lyncott is Ireland’s only black rock star. He is heavily involved with the Sankofa Urban Peace Awards. In 2003 CSI won Favorite Television Dramatic Series, and Dourdan was up for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor In a Drama Series.
Alien: Resurrection, 1997.
Playing God, 1997.
The Weekend, 1999
A Different World, 1990–92.
The Good Fight, (movie) Lifetime, 1992.
Swift Justice, 1996.
The Keys, 1998.
Scar City, (movie) 1998.
Muhammed Ali: King of the World, (movie).
Soul Food, 2000.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, 2000–.
Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Volume 26, Gale, 2000.
Code, February 2001, p. 19.
Ebony, April 1998.
Entertainment Weekly, June 28–July 5, 2002.
L.A. Life, October 23, 2001.
People, October 3, 2002.
TV Guide, March 14, 2002.
Us Weekly, April 30, 2001.
Entertainment Tonight, http://www.etonline.com/television/a9287.htm
Internet Movie Database, http://us.imdb.com/Name?Dourdan,+Gary
KOVR 13, http://www.kovrlS.com/tv/sh-csix.htm
Zap2it (Tribune Media Services), http://tv.zap2it.com/shows/features/features.html?24917
Additional information for this profile was provided by Patricola/Lust Public Relations, 2002.
—Alison Carb Sussman and Jennifer M. York
Dourdan, Gary 1966–
DOURDAN, Gary 1966–
Original name, Gary Durdin; born December 11, 1966, in Philadelphia, PA; son of Robert (a musicians' agent and entrepreneur) and Sandy (a fashion designer and teacher) Durdin; married Roshumba Williams (a model), c. 1992 (divorced, 1994); children: (with publicist Jennifer Sutter) Nyla. Education: Studied at Lee Strasberg Institute, New York City.
Addresses: Agent— Holly Baril, William Morris Agency, 151 El Camino Dr., Beverly Hills, CA 90212. Manager— Colton Gramm, Original Film Management, 2045 South Barrington Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90025. Publicist— Jenni Weinman, Patricola Lust Public Relations, 8383 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 530, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.
Career: Actor. Appeared in commercials, including one for TV Guide, 2003. Member of the band Rent Money; music producer and musician; performed at nightclubs in New York City.
Awards, Honors: New American Cinema Award, outstanding ensemble cast performance (with others), Seattle International Film Festival, 2000, for The Weekend; Screen Actors Guild Award nominations, outstanding performance by an ensemble in a drama series (with others), 2002 and 2003, and Image Award, outstanding supporting actor in a drama series, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, 2003, all for CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.
Second cartel man, Weekend at Bernie's II, TriStar, 1993.
Copy guy, The Paper, Universal, 1994.
Dreadlock guy, Sunset Park, TriStar, 1996.
Christie, Alien: Resurrection (also known as Alien 4 ), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1997.
Yates, Playing God (also known as Playing Hero ), Buena Vista, 1997.
A Woman Like That, 1997.
Derek, Fool's Paradise, Trident Releasing, 1997.
Frankie D, 1997.
James, Get That Number, 1997.
Ballpean, Thursday, Volcanic Films/Legacy Releasing, 1998.
New Jersey Turnpikes, Universal, 1999.
Jermaine Davis, Trois, Columbia TriStar Home Video, 2000.
Dancing in September, Home Box Office, 2000.
Thierry, The Weekend, Strand Releasing, 2000.
Captain Burke, Imposter, Dimension Films, 2002.
Television Appearances; Series:
Shazza Zulu, A Different World, NBC, 1991–1992.
Robert "Bobby" Harold, The Office, CBS, 1995.
Randall Patterson, Swift Justice, UPN, 1996.
Warrick Brown, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (also known as C.S.I. ), CBS, beginning 2000.
Jack Van Adams, a recurring role, Soul Food, Showtime, 2001–2002.
Host, Lyric Cafe, Black Entertainment Television, 2002.
Television Appearances; Movies:
The Good Fight, Lifetime, 1992.
Sergeant Dan Creedy, Scar City (also known as S.C.A.R. and Scarred City ), HBO, 1998.
Jeff Nelson, Rendezvous, Black Entertainment Television, 1999.
Malcolm X, King of the World (also known as Muhammad Ali: King of the World ), ABC, 2000.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Trey King, "To Protect and Serve," New York Undercover, Fox, 1994.
Ziggy, "Never on Sunday," Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, ABC, 1996.
Premiere episode, Sins of the City, USA Network, 1998.
Sergeant Mohmand, "Daddy's Girl," 7 Days, UPN, 1999.
Kris Bumstead, "The Strange Loves of Shelley Bumstead," Cold Feet, NBC and Bravo, 1999.
Guest, Larry King Live, Cable News Network, 2002.
Warrick Brown, "Cross–Jurisdictions," CSI: Miami, 2002.
Guest, The View, 2002.
Karim Fillmore, "Cry, the Beloved Mascot," Fillmore!, 2002.
Guest, The Wayne Brady Show, syndicated, 2003.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
The 7th Annual Soul Train Lady of Soul Awards, syndicated, 2001.
Presenter, The 2001 Essence Awards, Fox, 2001.
Television Appearances; Other:
Anthony, Laurel Avenue (miniseries), HBO, 1993.
Loot, Keys (pilot; also known as Keys to Her Past ), Lifetime, 1999.
Samson, The Balm Yard, Theatre of Riverside Church, New York City, 1991.
Also appeared in Angeles in the Men's Lounge; The Colored Museum; The Third Rhythm; and Three Ways Home.
Voice of Christie, Alien: Resurrection (video game), Fox Interactive, 2000.
Gary, Wanted: Soulful Energy Xchange, Abyssinian Moon Productions/HighFarGone Productions, 2002.
Voice of Warrick Brown, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (video game), Ubi Soft Entertainment, 2003.
Contemporary Black Biography, Volume 37, Gale, 2003.
Who's Who among African Americans, 16th edition, Gale, 2003.
Ebony, April, 1998; September, 2001, p. 103.
Entertainment Weekly, June 28, 2002, p. 68.
People Weekly, October 3, 2002.
Radio Times, June 29, 2002, pp. 12–13.
TV Guide, March 14, 2002; April 26, 2003, p. 10.
Us, April 30, 2001.